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A fuel injector is a fuel metering device that sprays atomized droplets of fuel in a specific pattern into the engine’s intake manifold or directly into the combustion chamber. The injector has a solenoid and valve within and the operation, or pulsing, of the solenoid is controlled by the powertrain control module (PCM). The PCM controls the solenoid’s “on” time in order to keep the air-fuel ratio optimized while the engine load and operating conditions constantly change. Fuel injectors are usually connected to a fuel rail located on the top of the engine and the fuel rail, in turn, is supplied with fuel under pressure from the fuel pump located in the fuel tank.
Injectors can be serviced once removed from the car or replaced outright with new injectors. If the injectors are serviced, specialized cleaning and test equipment are required. The choice to repair versus replace will depend on exactly what is wrong with the injector as well as customer preference. Either option requires removing the injector from the car and the following procedure is typical:
Yes, so long as there is no external leak of fuel from a broken or malfunctioning injector, it is safe to drive the car. However, if the injector is known to be malfunctioning, it can cause engine misfires, excessive emissions or, in the case of a badly leaking injector, can overload and overheat the catalytic converter. Additionally, fuel efficiency will always be diminished if the fuel injectors are not working properly.